Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante is normally a man with limitless energy – a fighter who does incredible work in defensive midfield, earning him the reputation as one of the finest of his generation in that position.
And yet somehow, last night it was surely Kante’s uncharacteristic slowness and lack of effort that allowed Real Madrid to score their crucial winning goal in their Champions League quarter-final tie.
Watch closely in the video below, at around eight minutes in, with Kante surprisingly slow to react to a loose ball, merely jogging as Eduardo Camavinga gets in ahead of him and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, with his pass then releasing Vinicius, who set up Karim Benzema’s crucial goal to make it 3-2, and 5-4 on aggregate…
Not only does Kante get beaten to the initial ball, but his tracking back isn’t too great either, as he simply gets caught ball-watching as he gets back into his penalty area, leaving Benzema unmarked to head home and settle the tie.
Perhaps the France international is starting to show his age a little bit as this fiercely competitive game went into extra time, but Blues fans will surely be expecting much better from a player who’s set such high standards for himself.
Kante was one of the stars of Chelsea’s Champions League win last season, but this moment of sloppiness here ultimately saw them exit this year’s edition of the competition.